Postal and Federal Disability Retirement: A Directionless Travelogue

Traveling without knowing where one is, is perhaps the foundation of being “lost”; to compound such a problematic situation would be to also not even know where one is going.  The choices provided in this modern age reveals that information does not constitute wisdom or intelligent choice; for, if the converse were true, as society now possesses a vast vault of information, we would consider ourselves at the height of intellectual acuity.  Have you ever looked through various travelogues?  Brochures, commercial proposals, travel agents — the more one reads, the more confusing it gets.  

As with everything and anything in life, preparing, formulating, and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management first, and foremost, requires a sense of direction.  But where does one obtain such a sense?  Certainly not from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — as they are the agency which will scrutinize and review a Federal Disability Retirement application, to obtain information from them would be like asking the proverbial fox how best to guard a henhouse.  Yes, sometimes studying one’s “enemy” is beneficial, but in this case, a regurgitation of the law, as interpreted by OPM, will not provide a sense of direction.  

The key in a Federal Disability Retirement case is to first accept and acknowledge that the Federal or Postal employee has come to a point in his or her life where some action is needed.  Once that is established, the next step is to search for the travelogue which will be most effective in getting the Federal or Postal employee from the present location, to the destination of a successful outcome.

Any other travelogue is merely an attempt to sell a dream; and while dreams are nice to have, they are best enjoyed within the security of a good night’s sleep, which comes from knowing where one is, where one needs to go, and how to get there.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement for Federal Workers: The Coming Year

The Calendar says it is now 2013.  For those preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it matters little as to the designation of the year.  A chronic medical condition makes no conceptual distinction from year to year; the impact upon one’s ability/inability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job is not distinguishable between December 31 or January 1.  

For those who have filed with the Office of Personnel Management, the fact of the waiting period itself merely magnifies — that we are now into “another” year — the lengthy process which the bureaucratic morass forces the Federal or Postal employee to undergo and endure.  The “coming year” is, for the Federal or Postal employee filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from OPM, a continuum of the previous year.  It is not the days immediately before, or just after, which makes a difference.  Rather, it is ultimately the approval from the Office of Personnel Management which will make all the difference.  

To appreciate that “difference”, the best that the Federal or Postal employee seeking Federal Disability Retirement benefits can do, is to:  increase the chances of an approval of an OPM Disability Retirement application; limit the mistakes which can subvert or otherwise damage a Federal Disability Retirement application; and always, always affirmatively prove one’s case with the best evidence possible.  That way, the coming year will have turned out to be a fruitful one, and distinguishable from the previous year.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Medical Retirement Benefits for US Government Employees: The Holidays

The “holidays” — or any respite from the daily treadmill of the repetitive reality of daily living — brings about realizations and gestalt moments of insight, precisely because such moments provide for opportunities of thoughtful reflection.

The modern approach of engaging in conversations and discussion for purposes of “value clarifications” became necessary when a tension occurred within society; where new ideas began to question and challenge the old; when habitual engagements of societal values, ethics and mores began to be undermined by revolutionary approaches, technological advances, and unrestrained actions by youthful movements of protestations and revolts.  Similarly, when time and opportunity allows for reflection and contemplation, certain realizations begin to surface.

For Federal and Postal employees who have been suffering from various medical conditions, whether chronic physical pain which limits movement, flexion and unsustainable capabilities of endurance; or psychiatric conditions which impact focus, concentration, and the ability to engage in cognitive-intensive work; the time of the “holidays” can be a challenge, where it provides for an opportunity to take some time off to rest those tired bones; but also a time of reflection to recognize and realize that one cannot remain on the same treadmill forever.

Federal Disability Retirement is an option which needs to be considered, precisely because it is not an “opting out of life”.  Rather, it is a means of downsizing, recognizing that one’s medical condition is preventing one from performing the essential elements of one’s job, and to seek a change of venue for the future.

The “holidays” are indeed a time for reflection; but reflection, if allowed without subsequent action, is an impotent moment of self-realization.  Be a rebel; grab the opportunity if presented.  That is what the holidays are ultimately for — to reflect and change course.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

OPM Disability Retirement: Respite and Reflection

Sometimes, it is a positive thing to have a period of respite, in order to engage in a reflective mode of thought.  The “to-do list” is always extensive and pressing; the need to advance, to accomplish, and to complete the pending projects is always in the foreground; but a period of respite and reflection — a pause in the action of life — is a welcomed break.

For those Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is often merely an extra day in which to recuperate one’s energies in order to go back to work.  If the Federal or Postal employee finds that the period of a few days off are merely a palliative form of treatment in order to drag one’s self back to the identical state of affairs at one’s Federal position — whether because of chronic pain, or profound, overwhelming fatigue; or perhaps an intractable state of cognitive decline and depression — it is probably time to think about filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.

One can “fight the good fight” only for so long.

At some point, the coalescence of the medical condition, the limitation of human capacity, and the self-destructiveness of continuing in a position which is detrimental to one’s health, will come to fruition.  Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, is perhaps what one should reflect upon during the respite of life.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Escape from the Morass

The loss of perspective comes at a price:  ever deeper in the morass of self-reflection, one cannot step outside of one’s self in order to attain a viewpoint other than that which one possesses.  That is often how we criticize politicians who have been in Washington for “too long” —  caught within a society of power and appearances, they fail to recognize how “real” people live and struggle.

The acknowledgment of such a perspective (or, to put it more correctly, some would say the “loss of perspective”) is a first step; the second, and more important step, is to do something about it.

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, it is important for the Federal or Postal employee to comprehend, understand, and ultimately “see” that there is a way out.

The desperation in the voices of those Federal and Postal employees who have been caught in the morass of the vicious cycle of pain, chronic and deteriorating medical conditions, the self-denigrating perpetual maze of being caught in a web where one can see no future in a job which one cannot perform because of a deteriorating medical condition which one cannot control, can be heard in the description of cries for help.

But the next step in order to escape such a morass is to prepare to formulate a plan, and the first stage of that plan is to decide whether one is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  As that old proverb goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step…

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Disability Retirement for Federal Workers: Once the Decision is Made

It is often the decision itself which is the greatest hurdle in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS.  The decision itself is the all-encompassing beginning point, the obstacle which must be reviewed, analyzed, discussed, and ultimately overcome.

Once that decision is made, then the floodgates open with respect to the approach, the procedural issues, the time-frame within which to file, the garnering of support from one’s doctor; the legal avenues and pitfalls which must be confronted; the financial burden which must be faced and adjusted to; contending with issues at work; whether to inform the agency’s Human Resources office at this point or when the Federal Disability Retirement application has been prepared and is ready for submission; whether and what to discuss or hint at with one’s supervisor; which medical information to include or merely weave throughout the narrative of one’s Applicant’s Statement of Disability; the problem of quantifying in a substantive manner one’s medical conditions; how best to characterize the essential elements of one’s job; the connecting of all of the dots; the building of the nexus between one’s positional description and the medical conditions suffered.

These are merely a few of the issues which must be confronted once the decision to proceed is made.  Federal Disability Retirement is an important decision to embrace; it should be treated in accordance with its important status.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

Federal and Postal Disability Retirement: Upon a Signpost

In lectures and speeches, a “signpost” is a linguistic device used to reveal to the listener what direction the talk is about to take.  In everyday life, there are similar signposts which one provides, and which others provide to the recipient.  The problem is normally not that there does not exist a signpost; rather, the difficulties normally follow upon the inability of the individual to recognize such signposts.  One can ignore such signposts and continue to forge forward, or one can attempt to identify it, evaluate it, then make the best possible judgment, concurrently preparing for the progressive developments which will ensue as more and more signposts are forthcoming.

In preparing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the identification and action upon a signpost is essentially what one does.  The signpost constitutes the medical condition and the progressive impact of that medical condition upon the ability or inability of a Federal or Postal worker to continue in a particular kind of job.  It tells the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a particular medical condition, as to the direction which (A) will be forced upon the Federal or Postal employee (B) the Federal or Postal employee is encouraged to start to undertake, or (C) the Federal or Postal employee should/must take.

The identification of the appropriate direction is entirely dependent upon the stage and current status of the medical condition, and its present impact upon the Federal or Postal employee.  One can certainly have a fourth option:  to ignore the signpost.  But to ignore the signpost is to merely delay the inevitable, and to progressively limit and narrow the options available.

In a Federal Disability Retirement case, one ignores such signposts at one’s peril.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Decisions of the Federal and Postal Employee

In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under either FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management, the ultimate and deciding “first step” factor which propels the entire process, of course, is entirely within the authoritative realm of the Federal or Postal employee contemplating such a course of action.  

In making any decision, however, the trajectory of options begins to diminish when the options themselves become more and more limited and restricted by external circumstances.  Thus, when the Federal or Post employee is removed and separated from Federal Service, then the option to file becomes clearly defined:  one must file within one (1) year of being separated from Federal Service, or you lose your right to file forever.  Or, if the threat of being separated from service becomes cumulatively overwhelming; or, perhaps the medical condition itself, because of its progressively deteriorating aspect, imposes the necessity to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits sooner than anticipated, rather than later.  

Additionally, there are multiple scenarios which offer refinements to those already mentioned — for example, if one has already filed for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, and in the meantime the Federal or Postal worker has been separated from Federal Service, then the ability to either file for Reconsideration (in the event of an initial denial) or appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (in the event of a second denial from the Office of Personnel Management) — as opposed to letting a Request for Reconsideration or an appeal to the MSPB lapse and begin the process all over again —  may be restricted and limited precisely because of the separation from service “in the meantime”.

Options and the ability to make the proper decision in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, should be made with the utmost of flexibility, if possible; but such flexibility and possible decision-making become more and more limited when one waits for external circumstances to intervene — i.e., the medical condition itself; the law; work circumstances; or a combination of all of the above.  Remember, most emergencies are self-made, and the destiny of one’s choices often depends upon thoughtful preparation at the beginning of a complex process.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: The Difficulty of Making the Decision

In preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS from the Office of Personnel Management, it is often the mental act of deciding to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits which is the most difficult to make.  

For, while the actual mechanics of the entire process — of obtaining an attorney (if that has been decided), gathering the necessary medical narratives and supporting documentation; of facing the harsh reality of writing the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (following the format of Standard Form 3112A) and reading about the impact of one’s medical conditions and the direct nexus to one’s inability to perform the essential elements of one’s job — of actually outlining and delineating the symptomatologies resulting from the singular or multiple diagnosed medical conditions; of approaching and having the supervisor complete a Supervisor’s Statement; of essentially declaring to the Agency that you are no longer capable or able to perform one or more of the essential elements of the job, thereby confirming what many at the Agency probably already suspected — all of these “mechanical” aspects of the preparation, formulation and filing of a Federal Disability Retirement application under FERS or CSRS, while difficult, pale in comparison to the singular act which propels and initiates the entire process:  that of deciding to move forward.  For, as an old proverb states:  To lift a finger without thought is merely an act; to move with thought only a conscious event; to think, to plan, and then to engage in action, is the essence of man’s strength.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

CSRS & FERS Medical Disability Retirement: Happy New Year

For many people, celebrating the “New Year” often encapsulates a parallel time of reflection, of resolutions for change and improvement, etc.  For Federal and Postal employees who are contemplating filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS or CSRS, this is a good time to take a personal inventory of one’s future goals, assessing the viability of continuation in one’s position as a Federal or Postal employee, and seeking clarity for future plans and career goals. 

Federal Disability Retirement is simply an option to be considered, if one is finding that one’s medical conditions — whether physical, psychiatric, or a combination of both which exacerbate and feed onto each other — are impacting one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties.  Whether in a sedentary administrative, cognitive-intensive position, or mostly a physically demanding job, or even a combination of both, if a Federal or Postal employee is finding that continuation with the essential elements of one’s job is becoming an impossibility, then Federal Disability Retirement is certainly an option to be considered

Celebrating the “New Year” should always include taking an inventory for the future.  For Federal and Postal employees under either FERS or CSRS, considering the option of formulating, preparing, and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application should be part of that equation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire